Repository or app store for FOSS apps?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by dave559, Sep 3, 2015.

  1. dave559 macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2015

    I am new to having a Mac myself, although I have used Macs on and off for years at different workplaces. I'm not a switcher from a certain well-known OS, but rather from another one, Linux (and even Amiga, if you go back really far enough (I couldn't afford a Mac back then)..!). Linux has met most of my own needs perfectly adequately for a long time, especially for desktop use, but unfortunately it can even now sometimes still be a bit of a struggle to get all laptop hardware (eg, wifi, bluetooth, sleeping) working properly and eventually I came to the conclusion that, despite the not inconsiderable outlay, a Mac was probably better value (in terms of my time and effort) in the long run.

    I have obviously built up familiarity with quite a number of FOSS apps from the Linux world (many of which are also available for Mac, thanks to similar unix backgrounds helping with development and porting), such as Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, GnuCash, GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, VLC, and so on, and the amazing APT packaging system that makes applications just so easy to install and manage (I've had less good experiences with RPM-based systems/repos, I have to say..).

    There is the Apple App Store, but unfortunately few (if any?) of the FOSS apps that I am used to are available there (there are 2 versions of LibreOffice from Collabora, but I'm not sure how these relate to official LibreOffice versions (Collabora are apparently among the LO developers (I'd never heard of them before now), so I guess that gives a way to help support the project financially as well?)), which is somewhat annoying: it's a long, long, time since I have ever had to go directly to an app's website to install it manually, and I'd forgotten just how primitive that is!

    I am aware of Fink, MacPorts and Homebrew, but, not only is it a shame that there are competing package manager projects (couldn't they ideally just combine their efforts to make one absolutely fantastic system?!), but unfortunately it doesn't look as though all of the apps that I want to use are all available in any one of the systems (Debian/Ubuntu really has been spoiling me), and possibly(?) their goals look like they may well be more tending towards supporting developer tools and libraries (which are less important for me) rather than "end-user" apps? Unfortunately, I'm not really in a position to help in practical terms with developing any of these projects (although I could perhaps make a small donation, if that would help to improve these projects). Not that I don't appreciate the Mac developer community, but realising the difference in scale between these projects and Linux package repos perhaps makes me really appreciate all the incredible work that has gone into Linux all the more.

    I am wondering what would be the best way to get to where I want to be: should I just resign myself to installing the Mac version of each app manually (and remembering, where necessary to check for updates periodically), or would I perhaps even be better off installing a Linux VM on my Mac for when I want to make use of a FOSS app (which seems perhaps a bit over the top)?

    It's also possible that, as I get more familiar with the Mac world, I will find some 'native' Mac apps that might suit my needs just as well (or perhaps, even better), but I'm always conscious (having unfortunately lost some of my Amiga documents back in the day) that open file formats (and open apps) are important factors to bear in mind in the longer-term..

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    I am interested in this topic too. There's such a thing for Windows, called Chocolatey, but I don't know of a Mac equivalent.
  3. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    I've jumped all over the map over the years between Mac/Linux/Windows, and in my experience, the Mac is by far the easiest to install software and keep updated. But you're going to have to get over the whole APT deal - and going on and on about it is isn't going to endear you to people here. ;-)

    First, get whatever you can through the Mac App store (though keep an eye out for certain types of applications that offer a more feature-rich version via website download only due to some of Apple's restrictions due to sandboxing).

    "" has a ton of independent/FOSS software and they do offer their own sort of update manager (there's a limited free version and a paid version).

    Finally, most software these days also has built-in update checker and will let you know when a new version is available and offer to download and install it. Not as slick as an app store, but not like you have to go hunting the updates down.
  4. dave559 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2015
    Point taken, but I think it's always worthwhile pointing out where a different OS does something useful that is perhaps worthy of replicating!

    Ah, thanks, that looks perhaps like it might be similar to the sort of thing that I'm looking for. A useful-looking website and a good way to find out about different applications anyway.

    Yeah, but the idea of dozens of different programs all running their own unique update checkers just seems so inelegant, and, dare I say it, un-Mac-like! That's why I am somewhat surprised if the Mac community hasn't come together to make a really high quality app repository system as the Linux distros have..

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